Politics, Identity and Education in Central Asia
Edited by Pınar Akçalı, Cennet Engin-Demir
Routledge – 2013 – 236 pages
Focusing on the areas of politics, identity and education, this book looks at some of the most pressing and challenging issues that Kyrgyzstan faces in the post-Soviet era. It argues that Kyrgyzstan is challenged with oscillations between the old and the new on the one hand, and domestic and international on the other.
The book analyses the process of post-Soviet transition in today’s Kyrgyzstan by focusing on the political elites, some of the major identity problems and educational issues. It discusses how Kyrgyzstan’s first president in the post-Soviet era had already been an exceptional leader even prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union in terms of his democratic and liberal tendencies. The book goes on to look at how identity is a major factor in the country, shaped to a large extent by genealogical factors and patron-client mechanisms on the one hand, and religious considerations on the other. Finally, it highlights how education has been perceived as a very influential agent of socialization that develops not only literacy and other skills, but also common attitudes and values that are considered essential to any society.
By evaluating these three areas, the book argues that Kyrgyzstan cannot isolate itself from the demands, priorities and pressures of international actors, which sometimes are in conflict with the country’s domestic conditions. It is of interest to students and scholars of Asian Studies, Politics and International Relations.
Introduction Pınar Akçalı and Cennet Engin-Demir Part 1: Politics 1. Patterns of Elite Consolidation and Rivalry in Kyrgyzstan between 1960-2010 Irina Morozova 2. The Impact of Askar Akaev’s Political Leadership in the Process of Democratization in Kyrgyzstan Seçil Öraz 3. Colour Revolutions and Constitutionalism: The Case of Kyrgyzstan Anita Sengupta Part 2: Identity 4. ‘Circle of Trust’: Functions and Mechanisms of Patron-Client Relations in the Private Farm Aksana Ismailbekova 5. From Herd Breeding to Land Farming: Social Uses of Descent and Kinship in a Kyrgyz Village Svetlana Jacquesson 6. Religious Conversion and Its Impact on Ethnic Identity in Post-Soviet Kyrgyzstan David Radford Part 3: Education 7. Everyday Realities of a Young Teacher in Post-Soviet Kyrgyzstan: A Case of a History Teacher from a Rural School Düishön Alievich Shamatov 8. Redefining Students and Universities in the Kyrgyz Republic Alan J. DeYoung 9. Higher Education in Kyrgyzstan: The Inevitability of International Actors Martha C. Merrill 10. Conclusion Pınar Akçalı and Cennet Engin-Demir
Pinar Akçali teaches in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration at the Middle East Technical University, Turkey. She has published widely on Central Asian identity issues and post-Soviet transition.
Cennet Engin-Demir teaches in the Department Educational Sciences at the Middle East Technical University, Turkey. She has published widely on education in Central Asian countries.